robertogreco + bitcoin   7

Transforming Ourselves to Transform Our Networks - Stories from the Decentralized Web - Medium
"This is why DWeb Camp is so significant. To me, this event is about bringing the people behind decentralized technologies together, and reflect, as peers and co-creators, on how we shape the networks and applications we’re building. It’s about recognizing how personal and interpersonal dynamics need to be explored in the same way we experiment and build new networking technologies."

...

"The great thing about DWeb Camp is that it will be full of fearless experimenters. The event has attracted people who are actively trying things out. These folks can’t wait to see how our digital networks can serve communities better.
Personally, I’m most excited to meet those who approach technological development from a point of individual and collective empowerment. Who strive to liberate themselves from oppressive systems. Who, at the same time, fight for those who are marginalized by society because they would have the most to gain. These are people who challenge themselves to become more “‘human’ human beings” — the types of people Boggs would say are transforming themselves to transform the world.
We think of DWeb Camp as an experiment itself. It’s an experiment in expanding our imagination about what the internet would look like if it were more inclusive, empowering, resilient, and fun. It’s a space for people to play, share, and explore ideas with others who share their curiosity about how “decentralization” is a starting point to build a better Web."
maiishikawasutton  decentralizedweb  decentralization  dwebcamp  2019  p2p  p2pweb  networks  distributed  gracelleboggs  buckminsterfuller  power  hierarchy  society  bitcoin  libracoin  humanism  web  internet  blockchain  commons  online  dweb 
26 days ago by robertogreco
Virginia Heffernan on Learning to Read the Internet, Not Live in It | WIRED
"Anxiety is much more than a rookie response to internet-borne humiliation and weakness; sometimes it seems like the animating principle of the entire commercial web. That’s part of the reason for our decade-old retreat to apps, where McModern design and the illusion of walls seems like a hedge against the malware and rabble of the original web metropolis.

But leave standard consumer software aside and you’ll find that straight panic haunts the latest phase of digitization. Virtual reality, AI, the blockchain, drones, cyberwarfare—these things spike the cortisol in everyone but power users of Github and people with PGP session keys in their Twitter bios. The recent obsession with whether Barack Obama and James Comey did the right thing when confronted with evidence of Russian cyberattacks in 2016 misses the point: No one—no world leader, no FBI director, no masterful subredditor—knows exactly what to do about cyberattacks. The word alone is destabilizing.



To put it simply: Much of digital technology seems to be, in the words of our YouTube debunker, not in sync. It doesn’t quite track. Twitter emotion doesn’t rise and fall the way human emotions do. Similarly, death, final by definition, is not final in Super Mario 0dyssey. GPS tech is not true to the temperature and texture of physical landscapes. Alexa of Amazon’s Echo sometimes seems bright, sometimes moronic, but of course she’s neither; she’s not even a she, and it’s a constant category error to consider her one.

Living in the flicker of that error—interacting with a bot as if its sentiments were sentiments—is to take up residence in the so-called uncanny valley, home to that repulsion we feel from robots that look a lot, but not exactly, like us, a phenomenon identified nearly 50 years ago by robotics professor Masahiro Mori. When something gets close to looking human but just misses the mark—like that CGI creep in The Polar Express—it induces fear and loathing, the exact opposite of affection.

I’m unaccountably afraid. At root the anxiety is: Who is the human here, and who the simulacrum?
Mori used the notion of the uncanny valley to describe a restrictive aesthetic response to robots. But the internet, by aiming to represent a monstrous range of human experiences that includes everything from courtship and commerce to finance and war, introduces a near-constant dysphoria. An uncanny experience registers like a bad note to someone with perfect pitch. And bad notes are everywhere on the internet. Queasy-making GIFs, nonsense autocorrect, memes that suggest broken minds. The digital artifacts produced on Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify are identifiable as conversation, bodies, and guitars, and yet they don’t sync with those things in the three-dimensional world. Our bodies absorb the dissonance, and our brains work overtime to harmonize it or explain it away.

Consider my stock response to a friend’s honey-colored Instagram photos that show her on a yacht in Corsica. Is that what life is supposed to look like? Why does my own life by this loud municipal swimming pool look sort of—but not really—like that? We rightly call this jealousy, but the comparison of one’s multisensory experience to a heavily staged photo, passing for existence, entails cognitive discomfort too.

My poolside afternoon changes millisecond to millisecond. It also has a horizon line; robust unsweetened audio (yelps of “Marco” and “Polo” in my daughter’s pool-glee voice); a start-and-stop breeze; the scent of a nearby grill; ever-changing and infinitesimal shades that elude pixelation and suggest even hues outside the human spectrum that my sunblock (scented to evoke the tropics) is meant to guard against. What’s more, because it’s my experience, this scene is also inflected by proprioception, the sense of my own swim-suited body present in space. Compared to this robust and fertile experience as a mammal on Earth, isn’t it the Instagram image that’s thin, dry, and inert? “The imagined object lacks the vivacity and vitality of the perceived one,” philosopher Elaine Scarry wrote in Dreaming by the Book, her 1999 manifesto on literature and the imagination.

And yet. There’s that tile-sized cluster of pixels on my phone. The heightened portrait there, let’s call it Woman in Corsica, makes my own present moment—real life—seem like the impoverished thing. I’m unaccountably afraid. At root the anxiety is: Who is the human here, and who the simulacrum?

The good news is that the anxiety of the uncanny is nothing new or unique to digital experience. Every single realist form, the ones that claim to hold a mirror to nature, has made beholders panic—and worse. In the fifth century BC, the Greek artist Zeuxis is said to have painted voluminous grapes that looked so much like the real thing that birds pecked themselves to death trying to eat them. Novels, which were intended to show unfiltered middle-class life in everyday prose instead of fakey verse, drove women to promiscuity by representing their feelings so exactly. And, of course, there was the famous stampede in Paris in 1896, when audiences watching an early movie, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, retreated to escape the train hurtling toward them from the screen.

A Snopes search for these stories turns up nothing; all of them are now considered folklore. But they’re useful. We like stories that suggest that experiences with art and entertainment we now take for granted—realist paintings, novels, the movies—once overwhelmed our ancestors. As a species, we must have learned something: how to stimulate ourselves with movies without being duped. And if we learned it then, we can learn it now. Because while the gap between the real and the replica can seem nauseatingly narrow, we do have a brilliant mechanism for telling reality from artifice. It’s literacy.

SKILLFUL READERS OF novels recognize language as a symbolic order with rules that set it apart from the disorder of real life. Musicians recognize sound signals in OGG format as decent representations of the sounds produced by their tubas and vocal cords, but not the music itself. Similarly, the Instagram image of Corsica is not life itself. It’s not even Corsica. It’s software. To read novels, hear recorded music, or scroll through Instagram is not to experience the world. It’s to read it.

But we forget this, over and over. Our eyes are still adjusting to the augmented reality of everyday life mediated by texts and images on phones. The oceanic internet has grown far too fast, with the highest aspirations to realism, for anyone to have developed guidelines for reading it without getting subsumed. Our phones even intercede between ourselves and the world. Like last year’s Pokémon Go, virtual artifacts now seem to embellish everything. And the enchantment they cast is potent: We will, it seems, drive off the road rather than resist the text. Literacy entails knowing when not to read.

As David Kessler has written about mental illness, thoughts, ideologies, and persistent images of past or future can “capture” a person and stall their mental freedom. If this is hard to grasp in the abstract, look at the captivating quality of sexting, doctored photos, or something as silly and fanciful as Twitter, with its birdies and secret codes. Even as artificial and stylized as Twitter is, the excitement there rarely seems like a comic opera to users. Encounter a troll, or a godawful doxer, and it’s not like watching a sitcom—it’s a bruising personal affront. “You’re a fool,” tweeted by @willywombat4, with your home address, makes the face flush and heart pound every bit as much as if a thug cornered you in a dark alley. Sometimes more.

But you don’t cool your anxiety by staying off the internet. Instead, you refine your disposition. Looking at a screen is not living. It’s a concentrated decoding operation that requires the keen, exhausting vision of a predator and not the soft focus that allows all doors of perception to swing open. At the same time, mindful readers stop reading during a doxing siege—and call the police to preempt the word being made flesh. They don’t turn quixotic and mix themselves up with their various avatars, or confuse the ritualized drama of social media with mortal conflicts on battlefields. The trick is to read technology instead of being captured by it—to maintain the whip hand.

Paradoxically, framing the internet as a text to be read, not a life to be led, tends to break, without effort, its spell. Conscious reading, after all, is a demanding ocular and mental activity that satisfies specific intellectual reward centers. And it’s also a workout; at the right time, brain sated, a reader tends to become starved for the sensory, bodily, three-dimensional experience of mortality, nature, textures, and sounds—and flees the thin gruel of text.

The key to subduing anxiety is remembering the second wave of YouTube commenters: the doubters. Keep skepticism alive. We can climb out of the uncanny valley by recognizing that the perceivable gap between reality and internet representations of reality is not small. It’s vast. Remember how the body recoils from near-perfect replicas but is comforted by impressionistic representations, like Monets and stuffed animals?

So imagine: Twitter does not resemble a real mob any more than a teddy bear resembles a grizzly. If you really go nuts and nuzzle up to a teddy, I guess you could swallow a button eye, but you’re not going to get mauled. Tell this to your poor rattled central nervous system as many times a day as you can remember. Make it your mantra, and throw away the benzos. Nothing on your phone alone can hurt you more than a teddy bear."
internetismyfavoritebook  virginiaheffernan  literature  literacy  internet  web  online  twitter  instagram  cv  2017  via:davidtedu  socialmedia  howweread  internetculture  trolls  blockchain  bitcoin  youtube  anxiety  drones  technology  cyberwarfare  cyberattacks  uncanneyvalley  presentationofself  reality  fiction  fictions  multiliteracies 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Anab Jain, “Design for Anxious Times” on Vimeo
"As 2014 rushes past us, a venture capital firm appoints a computer algorithm to its board of directors, robots report news events such as earthquakes before any human can, fully functioning 3D printed ears, bones and guns are in use, the world’s biggest search company acquires large scale, fully autonomous military robots, six-year old children create genetically modified glow fish and an online community of 50,000 amateurs build drones. All this whilst extreme weather events and political unrest continue to pervade. This is just a glimpse of the increased state of technological acceleration and cultural turbulence we experience today. How do we make sense of this? What can designers do? Dissecting through her studio Superflux’s projects, research practice and approach, Anab will make a persuasive case for designers to adopt new roles as sense-makers, translators and agent provocateurs of the 21st century. Designers with the conceptual toolkits that can create a visceral connection with the complexity and plurality of the worlds we live in, and open up an informed dialogue that help shape better futures for all."
anabjain  superflux  2014  design  future  futures  via:steelemaley  criticaldesign  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  designfiction  designdiscourse  film  filmmaking  technology  interaction  documentary  uncertainty  reality  complexity  algorithms  data  society  surveillance  cloud  edwardsnowden  chelseamanning  julianassange  whistleblowing  science  bentobox  genecoin  bitcoin  cryptocurrency  internet  online  jugaad  war  warfare  information  politics  drones  software  adamcurtis  isolation  anxiety  capitalism  quantification  williamgibson  art  prototyping  present 
february 2015 by robertogreco
DavidJohnstonCEO/DecentralizedApplications · GitHub
"A new model for building successful and massively scalable applications is emerging. Bitcoin led the way with its open-source, peer-to-peer nature, cryptographically-stored records (block chain), and limited number of tokens that power the use of its features. Several applications are adopting the Bitcoin model in order to succeed. BitShares, Mastercoin and Open Garden are just a few of those “decentralized applications” that use a variety of methods to operate. Some use their own block chain (BitShares), some use existing block chains and issue their own tokens (Master Protocol and Mastercoin), and others operate at two layers above an existing block chain and issue their own tokens (OpenGarden).

This paper describes why decentralized applications have the potential to be immensely successful, how the different types of decentralized applications can be classified, and introduces terminology that aims to be accurate and helpful to the community. Finally, this paper postulates that these decentralized applications will some day surpass the world’s largest software corporations in utility, user-base, and network valuation due to their superior incentivization structure, flexibility, transparency, resiliency, and distributed nature."
currencies  decentralization  bitcoin  flexibility  transparency  resiliency  distributed  2014  davidjohnston  samonatyilmaz  jeremykandah  nikosbentenitis  farzadhashemi  rongross  shawnwilkinson  stevenmason 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Alex Payne — Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology
"While most of the claims around Bitcoin are merely wince-inducing, there is one that deserves particular attention: that Bitcoin is “a way to offer low-cost financial services to people who, because of financial or political constraints, don’t have them today.”

Economic inequality is perhaps the defining issue of our age, as trumpeted by everyone from the TED crowd to the Pope. Our culture is fixated on inequality, and rightly so. From science fiction futures to Woody Allen character sketches, we’re simultaneously alarmed and paralyzingly transfixed by the disappearance of our middle class. A story about young people dying in competition with one another just to continue lives of quiet desperation isn’t radical left-wing journalism, it’s the pop fiction on every teenager’s nightstand and in every cinema right now.

With this backdrop of looming poverty, nobody can reasonably deny that the euphemistically “underbanked” are in desperate need of financial services that empower them to participate fully in the global economy without fear of exploitation. What’s unclear is the role that Bitcoin or a similar cryptocurrency could play in rectifying this dire situation.

The push toward Bitcoin comes largely from the libertarian portion of the technology community who believe that regulation stands in the way of both progress and profit. Unfortunately, this alarmingly magical thinking has little basis in economic reality. The gradual dismantling of much of the US and international financial regulatory safety net is now regarded as a major catalyst for the Great Recession. The “financial or political constraints” many of the underbanked find themselves in are the result of unchecked predatory capitalism, not a symptom of a terminal lack of software.

Silicon Valley has a seemingly endless capacity to mistake social and political problems for technological ones, and Bitcoin is just the latest example of this selective blindness."
2013  alexpayne  bitcoin  technosolutionism  siliconvalley  business  economics  libertarians  libertarianism  californianideology  decentralization  regulation  banking  finance 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Libertarian enclaves: Bitcoin paradise | The Economist
"A GROUP of self-described anarchists, libertarians and Ron Paul supporters fleeing the crumbling world economic system have founded Galt's Gulch, a community in Chile inspired by Ayn Rand's “Atlas Shrugged”—and with an economy based entirely on Bitcoin. Or that's the goal, anyway.

"Our farm workers and suppliers still want to get paid in pesos,” Ken Johnson, the project’s founder and managing partner, explains. "But Bitcoin as the John Galt coin? Why shouldn't it be?”

If the world economic system "goes sideways," as Mr Johnson puts it, residents will retreat to their self-sufficient gated community, where they will enjoy a shooting range, equestrian facilities, and spa and fitness center. The 6,874-hectare site (pictured) also includes a 100-hectare farm, although it is not clear who will pick the lettuce when the world ends.

Galt's Gulch Chile—a name impossible for local Spanish-speakers to pronounce—will also boast an innovation centre, where expatriate libertarian dentists and chiropractors may ply their trade. In exchange for Bitcoin, of course.

In the event the world economic system fails to collapse on schedule, however, Mr Johnson has a plan B—his new trademark, Galt's Gulch Organics. "The farm came with 65 hectares of lemons," he says. "The US and Japanese markets pay a premium for organic, non-GMO produce." Plans are in the works to plant herbs, spices, fruit, nuts, and vineyards, and organic certification is not far off.

A quirk of Chilean law makes land, mining and water rights independent of each other. Mr Johnson made sure to acquire all three, particularly the water rights. "In the future, wars will be fought over water," he says. Two rivers border the land, and the community sits atop 56 known water wells. Galt's Gulch bottled mineral water may soon be in the offing. Mr Johnson is also building guest haciendas to house not only prospective buyers, but also, he hopes, tourists.

Set in a secluded valley 17 kilometres from Curacavi, Chile, on the road between Santiago and the luxurious beach resort of Viña del Mar, Galt's Gulch is a mere forty-five minutes by car from the Santiago airport, but, as Mr Johnson says, "it feels like you're at the end of the Earth." Yet his goal is not isolationist, he adds. "We're not trying to hide from the world. In fact we want people to find us.”

Indeed, of the 430 lots for sale, only 12% have sold so far, and Mr Johnson is marketing vigorously to the libertarian and Bitcoin communities. Lots are priced in both dollars and Bitcoin, with big discounts for buyers who pay in that crypto-currency. Many early adopters of Bitcoin find themselves sitting on small fortunes, and Mr Johnson hopes to tempt them to diversify into real estate. So far nine clients have paid in Bitcoin, totaling around $1.5m in revenue.

Mr Johnson, a former California real estate agent and evangelist of water ionizers (devices supposed to slow aging and prevent disease, but derided as snake oil by many scientists) has become something of a celebrity in libertarian circles. Authors such as Ben Swann, Josh Tolley, Luke Rudkowski, Bob Murphy, Angela Keaton, Tatiana Moroz and Wendy McElroy have visited the site of his future utopia, and a television production company is pitching a documentary series on the community.

Most buyers so far, he says, are expats or second-home buyers. For Mr Johnson, the appeal is easy to explain. "It's like California, only forty or fifty years ago. Feels like you've stepped back in time.” Mr Johnson plans to break ground in 2014, and estimates five years to fulfill his vision of a place where he can "live and let live, thrive and let thrive.”

Why does he think his project will succeed where similar schemes have failed? "We're a freedom-minded community, but we're not trying to create a sovereign state," he explains. "We pay our taxes, we obey the law. Our goal is to lessen the effect of the rest of the world without telling the world to go take a flying leap."

As for Ayn Rand, just how much have her ideas influenced the community's design? Mr Johnson admits he never finished “Atlas Shrugged”. "I'm not actually much of a reader," he says. "Watched the movie and skimmed the Cliff's Notes, though. Good stuff.""

[Shiver at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJyafOxDOeE ]

[See also: http://galtsgulchchile.com/
http://dollarvigilante.com/blog/2013/5/27/ayn-rands-vision-of-galts-gulch-has-become-reality-as-of-tod.html
http://dollarvigilante.com/blog/2013/9/3/galt%E2%80%99s-gulch-chile-%E2%80%93-where-the-world-is-coming-to.html ]

[Update: http://www.thedailybell.com/editorials/35591/Wendy-McElroy-The-Fate-of-Galts-Gulch-Chile/

"Unbeknown to most purchasers, dramatic changes had occurred behind the scenes. Through maze-like transfers of cash and authority, Jeff Berwick was shoved out of the project and Ken Johnson was in control. I have sorted out most of the obfuscating tangle and I may soon be writing a history of the labyrinthine matter. For the moment, suffice it to say there is basis for various lawsuits; some are being pursued.

There will be no zoning for the 1.25-acre lots or other arrangements of less than 10 acres. Lots over 10 acres are beyond my ken. GGC is an environmentally protected area and it would take the political movement of heaven and earth to allow a community based on small lots to be officially approved. I had the opportunity to ask a question of the salesman who showed my husband and me "our property." I claimed it because I fell head over heels for the most beautiful tree I've ever seen. I felt an instant connection as though the two of us were old souls who had found each other. I could believe it, I could see it... waking up each morning and having coffee under that tree, telling it about my plans for the day. Months later, in a Skype conference, I asked the then-GGC-alienated salesman, "When you 'sold' us the property, when you printed out a photo from your phone that read 'Wendy's tree,' did you know you could not legally sell us the lot you were offering?" He said, "That is correct."

I suppose there is some comfort in being fleeced in good company, in being in the company of some of the smartest businessmen in the movement. I am not reassured. Perhaps it is because I am an Irish peasant and what reassures me is owning the land under my feet.

But something reassuring is happening. For a few months now, what I call "the founding fathers" have been trying to purchase all rights to GGC and to reboot. It is not just a financial investment to them. They want to live in a community with like-minded people; they want the promise of freedom. I don't know if they can succeed but I support them.

There are genuine problems that should discourage all and any from currently investing in GGC. For example – and just one of many, many examples – GGC owes immense debts to vendors in the closest town of Curacavi. Brad and I spent two weeks there and fell in love with the people, the town, the experience. But GGC owes hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to hardware stores, service providers... ordinary Chileans who are acutely harmed by the project's malfeasance. They will be and should be first in line for repayment from any legal actions. GGC is heavily encumbered with no good outcome in the near future.

I remain a friend of Jeff Berwick. I continue to admire the founding fathers of GGC and I do nothing but wish them success. I hope to be part of the resolution. But no one, no one should invest their hard-earned money in this venture before a resolution is clear. I don't want to have you on my conscience."]

[Update II: http://dollarvigilante.com/blog/2014/8/27/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-on-galts-gulch-chile.html ]
aynrand  chile  libertarianism  libertarians  bitcoin  objectivism  galt'sgultch  kenjohnson  curacavi  benswann  joshtolley  lukerudkowski  bobmurphy  angelakeaton  tatianamoroz  wendymcelroy  utopianism  utopia 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Three trends that will create demand for an Unconditional Basic Income | Simulacrum
"The digitization of our economy will bring with it a new generation of radical economic ideologies, of which Bitcoin is arguably the first.  For those with assets, technological savvy, and a sense of adventure, the state is the enemy and a cryptographic currency is the solution.  But for those more focused on the decline of the middle classes, the collapse of the entry-level jobs market, and the rise of free culture, the state is an ally, and the solution might look something like an unconditional basic income. Before I explain why this concept is going to be creeping into the political debate across the developed world, let me spell out how a system like this would look:

• Every single adult member receives a weekly payment from the state, which is enough to live comfortably on. The only condition is citizenship and/or residency.

• You get the basic income whether or not you’re employed, any wages you earn are additional.

• The welfare bureaucracy is largely dismantled. No means testing, no signing on, no bullying young people into stacking shelves for free, no separate state pension.

• Employment law is liberalised, as workers no longer need to fear dismissal.

• People work for jobs that are available in order to increase their disposable income.

• Large swathes of the economy are replaced by volunteerism, a continuation of the current trend.

• The system would be harder to cheat when there’s only a single category of claimant, with no extraordinary allowances.

This may sound off-the-charts radical, but here’s why you’re going to be hearing a lot more about it:

1 – The Middle Classes Are In Freefall…

2 – Demand For Human Labour Is In Long Term Decline…

3 – Cultural Production Is Detaching From The Market… "
economics  employment  income  universalbasicincome  leisurearts  work  money  2013  luismyth  bitcoin  culture  culturalproduction  austerity  artleisure  ubi 
august 2013 by robertogreco

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